Chapter 1: Wake up and Smell the Shamrocks “You won’t forget to wake me up early, will you?” asked Robin excitedly. Kermit smiled and tucked the covers more firmly around Robin’s middle. “Promise,” said Kermit. He bent and pressed a fond kiss over Robin’s smooth forehead, enjoying the damp, faintly swampy smell of a squeaky-clean young frog. “And my uniform’s all ready, right?” “Right.” “And my water bottle is in the fridge?” “Yes, Robin.” “And my shoes are all polished?” “Robin,” Kermit said firmly. “You don’t wear shoes.” “Oh,” said Robin sheepishly. “Right. I’m just excited.” “Well, I’m excited too,” said Kermit, “but tomorrow morning is going to come early, so if we don’t get a little shut-eye—“ Robin obliged by squeezing his eyes tightly shut with enough energy to power a Sherman tank. Kermit sighed, patted him lightly on the head, and switched off the light. He paused in the doorway for a moment, enjoying the sight of Robin nestled into his bed—a real bed. In a few weeks, Robin would go back to the swamp for Spring Break, leaving his uncle with a little time on his hands sans progeny. Kermit observed the march of days with equal parts delight and dread. He shut the door and walked down the hall toward his own room. Robin had been wildly excited about his Frog Scout troop being invited to walk in the big Hensonville St. Patrick’s Day parade. It was a big honor, for they would not only walk in formation, but they would dispense candy to the children and flyers to all of the adults along the route. The flyers would remind the citizens of the goings-on in the once-empty warehouse near the end of town where the parade would end. Kermit smiled, again with anticipation and dread. There would be a big chili cook-off and charity bazaar going on. There would be booths and fair games. There was to be an apple pie-eating contest that had Gonzo and Rizzo doing “pie-drills” at the drop of an, um, pie. The Electric Mayhem had promised to provide music, and Fozzie was playing Barker. “Seems like that ought to be my job,” Rowlf had joked, but Rowlf had duties of his own that day. Even Piggy had something planned to help the cause, but his quests for information about the specifics had been met with giggles, evasion and downright insubordination. Kermit thought determinedly of the thirty-dozen details that he was sure he had forgotten to remember, but in reality he was pretty certain that Scooter would not let him down. The mayor and city planner had called Kermit in, praised his contributions to the city, flattered him to the point of embarrassment and all but demanded he head up the day’s events. Kermit had left the meeting bemused, resigned and clutching a list of potential sponsors. Scooter had made short work of that contact list and, supplementing it with Kermit’s own connections and the connections of Scooter’s once-powerful uncle, had garnered the manpower and dry goods necessary to make this flying umbrella go. The city had given permission to use the warehouse space for the fund-raiser, and the money raised was to be channeled into several programs and events in the thriving (ahem) metropolis of Hensonville. Robin’s scout troop hoped to raise not only money, but awareness, too, with a conservation booth touting several of the projects that his troop hoped to launch in the coming year. Kermit did not expect to see the inside of his domicile from sun-up to long after sun-down tomorrow. Speaking of the inside…Kermit made haste to examine the inside of his eyelids with determination. “Wake up!” cried Robin excitedly. “The sun is up! The sun is up already!” Kermit groaned and tried to roll out of bed. He managed it on the third try, blinking blearily at his bright-eyed nephew in the faint sunlight filtering into his room. “The sun is up,” was an overstatement. “The sun is visible” would have been more accurate. Nevertheless, Kermit knew with crystal clarity that he would never fight his way out of that bed twice in the same morning, so he stayed where he was for a moment, then stumbled downstairs for coffee. Foreseeing his own short-sightedness this morning, Kermit had done everything but press the little button on the coffee pot. He did so now, and in a very short period of time—which seemed very long indeed to the caffeine-challenged amphibian—he had in his Disney store mug a cup of hot Joe that revived him in stages. When he could almost see the bottom of the mug, he began to feel amphibian again and celebrated by refilling his cup. Robin was up, dressed and as well-turned-out in his Frog Scouts uniform as a bandbox. He waited with ill-disguised impatience for the hands of the clock to move forward, practically hopping up and down in his enthusiasm. Mindful of Robin’s heightened state of excitement, Kermit forewent a shower, shave and clothing—since these things are almost always optional for frogs—and in no time the two frogs were peddling down the wide streets of Hensonville toward the site of the St. Patrick’s Day fair. Kermit could certainly make use of Robin’s seemingly boundless (boundful?) energy until it was time for him to line up with the other frog scouts for the parade. And for that, Kermit was glad. It was going to be a busy day, and he'd take all the help he could get!